Pardew: Ben Arfa must work harder

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The Independent Football

Alan Pardew has told Hatem Ben Arfa he must increase his work-rate to become a regular in his Newcastle side. Pardew hailed the Frenchman's goal against Blackburn in the FA Cup last week as the greatest he had ever seen live, but the praise was diluted yesterday as he laid out what else he now expects from the player.

"He needs to put in more effort for this team," said the Newcastle manager. "He's not really a difficult character around the place. I think sometimes he needs to understand we have got success here through the commitment we put into training every day and into games. Sometimes I don't think he gets that.

"It's not for want of trying – he is definitely improving, as that goal showed. I don't think he would have got that goal four or five weeks ago. He's getting better as we go along. As a personality, he is growing with the team and we're growing with him.

"I am going to require more energy from him. When he went on the wing for a short period of time against Blackburn, he did absolutely brilliantly. That goal was sensational. We know the boy has talent. You only have to see him with the ball at his feet."

Ben Arfa is again pushing for a starting role against Queen's Park Rangers at St James' Park tomorrow, although he again may be disappointed.

"I think of Ronaldo when he arrived and even Eric Cantona to a degree – these great players sometimes need a period of adjustment," added Pardew. "I'm not suggesting he's going to be as good as those players, but that kind of flair player does need to understand what the Premier League is all about and I think he's getting a grasp of it.

"He doesn't have to be less maverick. That is his strength. What we do need from him is discipline."